If we had a penny for all the articles you could find on Google on how you can be more productive, we would all be sailing on yachts.
However, there aren’t nearly enough guides on how you can be more productive and more sustainable at the same time, especially if you don’t work in an office setting.
That's why we're here to help! We consume copious amounts of energy on a regular basis (every year, the average person uses enough energy to light two and a half matches each second!), so it’s important that we put that energy to good use. And what better way than by getting work done faster? That way you'll have more time for the things that matter, like friends, family, yourself, or however you wish to spend your days!
So without further ado, here are our tips on how to boost productivity with eco-friendly practices that help reduce your carbon footprint.
Take a Walk
Why sit there mulling with the lights and air conditioning on when you could otherwise head outside to recollect your thoughts?
Scientific evidence continues to highlight the benefits of walking, especially in nature, for increased mental health and productivity. Just 20 minutes of walking in a natural environment can do wonders for stress by reducing cortisol levels, and simply having visual access to nature can greatly improve concentration. Researchers suggest that it’s likely because we as humans evolved to live in such settings ever since our distant ancestors walked the earth.
So the next time you’re feeling stuck, take a break with a half-hour walk in a nearby park or garden. Then come back with a fresh mind. It'll do wonders for your productivity, and your electric bill!
Change Where You Work
Or don’t come back. Go work somewhere else.
After a while, the same walls and desk can start to be a bit of an eyesore. So why not work outdoors? We’ve already mentioned the mental health benefits of being in nature, so it stands to reason that working in nature could be even better for productivity. Alternatively, you can also work at your local café. Both options help to reduce the amount of electricity you use, as you’re not consuming additional energy from home. Simply changing the surrounding area in which you work helps to jumpstart your creative juices and have an easier time working.
Just be sure that if you're going to be drinking coffee, bring along your reusable bottle!
Having a disorganized workspace negatively impacts your productivity by keeping you distracted and uncomfortable.
But there are ways of de-cluttering that don’t involve you dumping a giant bag of waste into the bin!
This article mentions several ways of cleaning up your workspace, including the classic methods of repurposing and recycling some of your waste; as well as giving away what you no longer need to those that do, whether it’s through local donations or by gifting them to people you know personally. Everyone loves a charitable person!
Ultimately, having a more minimalistic workspace with only the tools you need is key. This will leave you with fewer distractions, a more pleasant environment and far less waste to deal with later on, which leads us to the next tip.
Organize Your Notes Digitally
Paper alone accounts for 25% of landfill waste and 33% of municipal waste.
So instead of littering your desk with mounds of sticky notes and sheets of paper, why not use the digital tools that we now have at our disposal? Apps like Google Drive, Microsoft OneNote or your desktop Sticky Notes are useful ways of keeping all your work documents in one place. And thanks to cloud services, you can access them on the go. Having all of the documents you need easily accessible means that you spend less time looking around for them, and in the process, creating a mess.
There’s literally no reason to go the paper route anymore.
Put Yourself On a Timer
Having trouble sticking to one task at a time? Not to worry.
Set a timer for yourself.
It’s pretty simple; all you have to do is give yourself the minimum amount of time you think you’ll need to complete the task. Then set a timer for yourself.
Working on limited time triggers our fight or flight response, and in turn raises our adrenaline and increases focus, allowing us to work much more efficiently. And by keeping your work closed off in timed intervals, you save up on the amount of time and energy wasted simply sitting at your computer doing nothing.
Perhaps those legendary last-minute procrastinators who got everything done in one night had the right idea.
Keep a Plant
An eco-list would not be complete without plants. These little green powerhouses release oxygen into the air, keep ecosystems from falling apart, and also help us stay productive.
At the beginning, we mentioned that being in natural environments reduce stress and increase feelings of comfort. If you absolutely cannot go outdoors to work, you can instead get a plant to reap the same benefits, and then some. Plants, in addition to being aesthetically pleasing home decor, also reduce indoor air pollution, improving air quality and reducing the risk of falling ill.
If you’re going to get a plant, we recommend buying something that’s easier to take care of, like a succulent, that doesn’t require too much sun or water, and fits right at home on your desktop.